Robotic Case Handling System

Development of a Robotic Case Handling System for the Consumer Goods Manufacturing Industry


A customer needed us to design and build a system that would assemble a warmer / bottle and insert this assembly into a thermoform tray. This automated system would reduce their work cell staff from 12 to 2, and also would eliminate ergonomic problems that could result in repetitive motion injuries. One challenge was that the product needed to be unloaded from a bulk case, and the packing material needed to be dealt with. There was also some complexity involved, with the product needing to be assembled with a bottle that was to be fed from auxiliary equipment and then inserted into a thermoform package, all while in motion at 120 parts per minute.


At Big Sky Engineering, we reduced our client’s staff to two operators by utilizing six high-speed 6-axis ABB IRB 140 robots, combined with an extensive case handling system. The first three robots would unload cases of material and deal with the packing materials in the cases. Then, these robots would place the units onto a fixture indexing conveyor for assembly with the bottles. The fourth robot would pick the bottles from a puck conveyor and place them into the units. The last two robots utilized the robot’s line tracking ability, placing the assemblies into the thermoform on the fly at 125 parts per minute. The engineering for this project was completed in just 10 weeks, with a total turnaround time of 18-20 weeks for the whole project.